This list turned out to be the most difficult to finalize because NFL teams just don’t mess around when designing their championship rings. Almost every one of the 45 rings we have so far (the Giants’ newest has yet to be released) is huge and magnificent. Picking the top 5 is easy, because they’re the ones that jump out at you; but picking the rest was tough. Still, I’m pretty sure I got it mostly right. Click away to judge for yourself.
This ring commemorates the Jets' lone championship—that shocking victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III. And it's just a New Jersey kind of ring, isn't it? It looks like something you would see on Joe Pesci's pinkie in Goodfellas, or on a guy who wears fur coats to football games (i.e. Joe Namath). So it's perfect for a team that plays its games in the garden state.
15. 1969 New York Jets
The Cowboys are like the Yankees: you either love them, or you hate them. And while I definitely fall into the latter camp, I have to admit that I love their logo and uniforms. Thus, I also love this ring commemorating their first championship in Super Bowl VI. It's got great lettering around the outside, and then that fantastic diamond-centered blue star. An oldie but a goodie.
14. 1972 Dallas Cowboys
By winning Super Bowl XL in 2009, the Steelers tied the Cowboys and 49ers with 5 Super Bowl Championships. They decided to commemorate the achievement with this badass ring. Five Lombardi Trophies made with football-shaped diamonds? The Steelers iconic logo made from yellow, red, and blue gems? It's just about perfect—and the fact that it's only #13 tells you how great the rest of the list is going to be.
13. 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
When the Cowboys won their fifth championship in Super Bowl XXX, they spared no expense on the ring. On the front, like all their other rings, you have the iconic Lone Star, only this one is made from five huge diamonds. Then, just to drive the point home, there are five football-shaped diamonds surrounding the star.
Gee, do you think they've won 5 Super Bowls?
12. 1996 Dallas Cowboys
The Steelers won their record 6th championship by beating the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. The only way to commemorate such an achievement is with a ring so gaudy it's gorgeous. Hence this beautiful monstrosity. Steelers logo, six big diamonds, football made out of diamonds in the center, six Lombardi Trophies on the side...it's just one big jumble, but it works because it's so ridiculous.
11. 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers
Just as the calm, collected, and classy Peyton Manning is the antipathy of the loud, obnoxious, and boozy Ben Roethlisberger, so too is the Colt's ring for SB XLI the antipathy of the Steelers' ring for SB XLIII. Whereas Pittsburgh's ring was busy and bold, Indianapolis' ring is simple and understated. There's a ton of bling, but it doesn't smack you in the face. It's more subtle. Well, you know, as subtle as huge diamonds can be.
10. 2007 Indianapolis Colts
Maybe it's just me, but the Packers' ring commemorating their 4th championship in SB XLV just doesn't seem to fit the team. I mean, is there any other sports franchise in North America that is more blue collar through and through than the Packers? They're based in a small town in Wisconsin, their stadium is a model of spartan simplicity, and instead of being owned by some egocentric multi-billionaire their owned by their fans. This ring, however, is as ridiculously blinged out as they come. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear it was designed by Lil Wayne or something.
9. 2011 Green Bay Packers
This ring from the Cowboys third Super Bowl victory (SB XXVII) is great because it has a simple design that is executed in the most lavish way possible. (Those are usually my favorites.) It's just a football-shaped oval with a star in the middle and the words "Dallas" and "Cowboys" on the outside. But of course, that football-shaped oval is made entirely of diamonds, and so is the star.
8. 1993 Dallas Cowboys
When the Raiders won their first championship at SB XI in 1977, they came up with a ring that proved to be a real game-changer. For starters, it was the first to use white gold instead of yellow gold, in keeping with the team's colors. Then there's that insane football made of diamonds. That is serious ice for 1977. No other team had made anything that lavish to that point. So the Raiders really raised the bling bar.
7. 1977 Oakland Raiders
Despite my praise for the bling of the previous entry, bling certainly isn't everything. Sometimes plain, old-fashioned design trumps loads of shiny jewels. Take the Steelers' ring from SB X, for example. There are only two moderate-sized diamonds, but this ring is fantastic nonetheless. It actually has a kind of art deco look to it, with those rays coming off the Vince Lombardi trophy. And the block lettering around the outside is as good if not better than any championship ring I've ever seen.
6. 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
For our #5 Super Bowl ring we go all the way back to the beginning. This ring commemorates the Packers victory over the Chiefs in Super Bowl I. What I really love, aside from the overall look, is the globe in the middle. It celebrates the fact that, for the first time in many years, there was a real, undisputed World Champion. So while I always say I don't factor the history of a particular championship into the assessment of a ring, in this case it's hard to ignore the history.
5. 1967 Green Bay Packers
What's so special about this ring? One word: diamonds. Well, maybe three words: tons of diamonds.
The 49ers celebrated their fifth Super Bowl victory (XXIX) with a ring featuring five ridiculous Lombardi Trophies made out of diamonds. Then they were like, hey, let's set the diamond Lombardi Trophies on a background of diamonds. So they did. And it was good.
4. 1995 San Francisco 49ers
At #3 we have another example of the "so tacky it's amazing" style of championship ring. That is to say, this ring is so cluttered, so stupid, and so over-the-top, it's actually good. Obviously, it was earned back in 2005, at Super Bowl XXXIX, before the Patriots started choking in the big game. If the Pats do manage to win one more Super Bowl before Tom Brady retires, I doubt the ring would have this much bravado.
3. 2005 New England Patriots
No other team has made their logo look this good on the front of a Super Bowl ring. The Saints just nailed it. (So at least Drew Brees will have something shiny to look at during all those team meetings conducted by the Saints' substitute coaches this upcoming season.)
2. 2010 New Orleans Saints
This may not be the most lavish Super Bowl Championship ring, but I do think it is the most beautiful. Obviously, it commemorates the New York Giants' victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, which was the first of their four World Championships.
I think what I like most about the ring is how the design seems to celebrate the glory of simply winning a championship—as opposed to celebrating the team who won it. After all, it's not the team's logo that's encrusted with diamonds; it's the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And of course, the design itself is just awesome.
So nice work, Giants. Let's hope your next ring is a classic like this one.
1. 1987 New York Giants
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